In thin composite laminates, the first level of visible damage occurs in the back face and is called back face spalling. A plate-membrane coupling model, and a finite element model to analyze the large deformation behavior of eight-ply quasi-isotropic circular composite plates under impact type point loads are developed. The back face spalling phenomenon in thin composite plates is explained by using the plate-membrane coupling model and the finite element model in conjunction with the fracture mechanics principles. The experimental results verifying these models are presented. Several conclusions concerning the deformation behavior are reached and discussed in detail.